Compare and buy?

When looking to buy a house one of the important factors is obviously the price of the property. And whether that price is realistic and reasonable. Which isn’t always easy to figure out! Country, Location, position, view, size, materials, there are many items on the list than can influence the price of a house enormously. That is why a simple cottage in the Hungarian countryside costs very little and exactly the same house would be worth millions in London. Many television channels now feature shows like “house hunters”, “flip or flop” where a run down place gets a make over to then be sold again. Or  programs like “property virgins” where first time house buyers set out to find their dream home. And during all these programs the very fashionable term “comps” or “comparable’s” pops up, or in full: comparable properties.

How does it work?

The buyers compare the price of the house they  would like to purchase to the price of similar properties for sale. Similar meaning same neighborhood, same number of bed and bathrooms, same surface and other characteristics. A slight price difference can be tolerated depending on the state of the house and the finishes. Crown molding, garden, porches, fireplace, kitchen counter and so on. And right they are, why pay too much if a comp can be found for a better price. There are even whole websites dedicated to the phenomenon of comparable properties, from company offering their services to the real estate industry.

US neighborhood where prices can be compared.
US neighborhood where prices can be compared.

Comparable properties in Umbria?

And with this concept in mind some of our client do ask us about the available comps in a specific area. No matter the location, an historic center, the countryside, an apartment in a one of a kind 13th century castle, surely we can compare some prices for them!? Our answer to this unfortunately is no. Since we do not sell residential homes in the big city outskirts it does not make sense to even try and compare. In Umbria where no village, city or even hillside is the same and where all properties are quite unique these so called “comps” are very hard to come by.

The good news….

Most of the houses we offer for sale date back at least a hundred years, of some of them the original walls were even built several centuries ago. Over time these structures have been changed more than once. Turning defense lines into monasteries, monasteries into houses, stables in to living areas, farms into villas and on it goes. Stairs were added or removed, doors turned into windows or a story was added on top. We have almost come to regards these old buildings as living organisms, changing constantly, adjusting to modern wishes. And no two of them are the same, most not even remotely and thus are not in any way comparable properties. The view can be of a dark alley, the countryside, a valley or the woods. The original beams and other details can still be present or maybe they were replaced by clean white ceilings. A renovation may have been done with great skill and taste, in a more basic or even terrible way. Some city centers are accessible by car, some not. Two almost similar ones may enjoy mist or sun all winter long while they lie 2 km apart. Some houses have an isolated position, others are attached to a medieval village. There are too many factors involved in the pricing game to come up with comps. The good news is however that chances are you will indeed end up with a very special and unique property!